Been a while since I last posted about this project — in part due to my analogue week. This weekend would normally have been a great opportunity to crack on with it, but I have overcome my DIY malaise and instead spent the last three days filling, painting, caulking and sorting. I now have a much nicer looking kitchen and a garage that is halfway usable as a result.
In truth it is not just a lack of time that has stalled the project. The early results of my tests proved that the software works, at least in theory, but my subsequent tests have been a real reminder of the non-commercial nature of the product.
As a standalone machine the core/hybrid box I built works fine. I haven’t set up a proper remote yet, but it does everything that my current Windows Media Centre PC does. If I didn’t already have a working media centre PC, then I would probably go ahead and install it.
But the problem is that I do have a working media PC — one that works very well indeed. And without good reason, I’m loathe to replace it with something that has exactly the same functions but that runs on an OS with which I am much less familiar.
What appeals to me about LinuxMCE is all the other stuff — the networked Media Director units, the clever Orbiter remote controls, and for the moment, those aren’t working so well. I can control things with a PocketPC-based Orbiter but performance is slow, the interface looks shonky, and it is somewhat unstable. The Media Director boots successfully and reliably over the network — very cool — but I’m having trouble working out how to share music properly between devices.
The whole thing remains appealing, and I haven’t given up on it by any means. But it is proving a little less simple than — in some places — it has been billed.
Reality has taken some of the edge off my enthusiasm but I’m going to push on. Next step is a different type of Media Director, and one with a slightly different purpose: a digital photo frame. Take one old laptop, add a nice frame…. results to follow when I’ve had the time to put it all together.